The 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar gets underway on 21 November as the top football nations get set to lock horns.
This will be the first occasion the tournament takes place away from the traditional June to July period due to the arid temperatures in the Gulf at that time of year.
Qatar's chance to shine
It is also the first World Cup to be held in an Arab country.
The qualification stage has been delayed due to the pandemic but a number of nations have already secured their spot at football's most illustrious competition.
Qatar are due to play in the opening game at the Al Bayt stadium in Al Khor, with the opponent TBC after all qualifying rounds are complete in June.
Former Barcelona academy manager Felix Sanchez is currently in charge of the Qatar national side and the hosts will be looking to make a big impression in their debut World Cup.
The group stage will run until Friday, December 2 with the first of the knockout games starting the following day on Saturday, December 3.
The final will take place a week before Christmas, at the Lusail Stadium in Doha on December 18.
Germany are back
Four-time World Cup winners Germany were the first team to qualify for this year’s World Cup, topping a group which contained Romania, Armenia and Iceland.
Euro 2020 finalists England again secured automatic qualification by finishing first in their group, whilst Wales and Scotland must go through the play-offs.
Italy and Portugal could also play each other in a mouth-watering clash if they win their respective semi-finals against North Macedonia and Turkey respectively.
Brazil and Argentina are already qualified from the CONMEBOL section, with Uruguay, Ecuador, Peru and Colombia all still in contention for the remaining South American qualifying spots.
The fifth-placed team from South America will face a fifth-placed team from the Asian Football Confederation to confirm the final qualifier on June 13 or 14 in Qatar.
While other nations know their World Cup status after months of twists and turns, Oceania's eight hopefuls are only now preparing to start out on the road to Qatar.
A new OFC preliminary competition will be played in a mini-tournament format featuring eight teams and consisting of a round-robin group stage, semi-finals and the final in Doha.
The winner will represent Oceania in the FIFA intercontinental play-off matches in June against the fourth-placed team from the Concacaf zone.
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